US direct assistance to on-ground Pakistan military forces
229065 10/9/2009 7:25 09ISLAMABAD2449 Embassy Islamabad SECRET 09ISLAMABAD2116 “VZCZCXRO6340 OO RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHIL #2449/01 2820725
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
O 090725Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD
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RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
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RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL “ “S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 002449 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2034
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, MOPS, PK SUBJECT: (S) PAKISTAN ARMY GHQ AGAIN APPROVES EMBEDDING
U.S. SPECIAL FORCES PERSONNEL TO SUPPORT MILITARY OPERATIONS
REF: ISLAMABAD 2116
Classified By: Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (a)(b)(c), and (d)
1. (S) Summary: The Pakistani Army has for just the second time approved deployment of U.S. special operation elements to support Pakistani military operations. The first deployment, with SOC(FWD)-PAK elements embedded with the Frontier Corps in Bajaur Agency, occurred in September (reftel). Previously, the Pakistani military leadership adamantly opposed letting us embed our special operations personnel with their military forces. The developments of the past two months thus appear to represent a sea change in their thinking. End Summary.
2. (S) Pakistan Army General Headquarters (GHQ) informed ODRP that it approved a request from the Army’s 11 Corps Commander, Lt. General Masood Aslam, for U.S. SOC(FWD)-PAK personnel to deploy to Wana, South Waziristan and Miram Shah, North Waziristan, in the FATA, in order to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support and general operational advice to the 11 Corps’ 9th and 7th Divisions. The 11 Corps had informally approached ODRP about our providing such support approximately one week ago; ODRP responded positively.
3. (S) SOC(FWD)-PAK support to 11 Corps would be at the division-level and would include a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) full motion video. SOC(FWD)-PAK’s initial CONOPs envision deployment of six personnel each to Wana and Miram Shah. In order to finalize our planning and obtain formal go-ahead from CENTCOM, ODRP has requested additional information on the timing and purpose of the 11 Corps’ planned military operations from Brigadier General Amjad Shabbir, the Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).
4. (S) This is just the second time that GHQ has approved deployment of U.S. special operations elements to support Pakistani military operations. In September 2009, four SOC(FWD)-PAK personnel who were embedded with the Frontier Corps (FC) at Khar Fort, in Bajaur Agency in the FATA, provided ISR for an FC operation (reftel). This support was highly successful, enabling the FC to execute a precise and effective artillery strike on an enemy location.
5. (S) In recent days, the FC informally approached ODRP for a repeat deployment of SOC(FWD)-PAK personnel to Khar Fort. SOC(FWD)-PAK is preparing a CONOP while the FC obtains approval from GHQ.
6. (S) Comment: U.S. special operation elements have been in Pakistan for more than a year, but were largely limited to a training role. The Pakistani Army leadership previously adamantly opposed letting us embed U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) with their military forces to support their operations. The recent approval by GHQ — almost certainly with the personal consent of Chief of Army Staff General Kayani — for SOC(FWD)-PAK deployments to Bajaur and the Waziristans appears to represent a sea change in Pakistani thinking. Patient relationship-building with the military is the key factor that has brought us to this point. The Pakistanis are increasingly confident that we do not have ulterior motives in assisting their operations. In addition, the direct recipients of SOC(FWD)-PAK training appear to have recognized the potential benefits of bringing U.S. SOF personnel into the field with them for operational advice and other support. In addition, the success of the initial deployment to Khar Fort likely helped catalyze the follow-up requests for new and repeat support.
7. (S) Comment Continued: These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil. Should these developments and/or related matters receive any coverage in the Pakistani or U.S. media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.
ISLAMABAD 00002449 002 OF 002 PATTERSON